Clam­p­down calls for hard cash

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Tawanda Katombo

ZIM­BABWE is tight­en­ing us­age of Visa and Master­Card credit and debit cards as some banks now re­quire that de­pos­i­tors fund their ac­counts with hard cash for use out­side the coun­try although re­tail­ers in the coun­try have been ben­e­fit­ing from the cash short­ages, with sales vol­umes at OK Zim­babwe in­creas­ing.

The in­tro­duc­tion of bond notes, which trade at par with the US dol­lar, has failed to stem the liq­uid­ity cri­sis in Zim­babwe as banks con­tinue to run out of cash.

Zimbabwean credit and debit card hold­ers have been re­quired to ap­ply for ac­ti­va­tion of their cards for use while trav­el­ling out­side the coun­try.

But CBZ Bank, one of the coun­try’s big­gest banks, has now fur­ther re­stricted with­drawals and us­age on Visa cards. “In line with mar­ket de­vel­op­ments we would like to ad­vise that ef­fec­tive Au­gust 1, 2017 we have re­viewed the terms and con­di­tions of the in­ter­na­tional visa cards,” CBZ said in a note to de­pos­i­tors hold­ing Visa cards.

The bank has moved to re­strict its Visa card hold­ers to $200 per day on ATMs and $1 000 for on­line pay­ments and for­eign Point Of Sale pur­chases. Zimbabwean au­thor­i­ties have pre­vi­ously said banks should lo­calise Visa and Master­Card credit cards.

Mul­tiChoice, which said this week it was not mov­ing out of Zim­babwe, has also ex­pe­ri­enced dis­rup­tions on its pay­ment plat­forms with some banks now tightly re­stric­tion pay­ments for the DStv plat­form us­ing for­eign cur­rency.

Some banks now re­quire that DStv ac­count hold­ers bring for­eign cur­rency to pay for their Mul­tiChoice ac­counts but the South African pay tele­vi­sion oper­a­tor has said ac­count hold­ers may also ask their rel­a­tives and friends in South Africa to pay for them us­ing rand ac­counts.

Although the cash short­ages in Zim­babwe have been dis­rup­tive for banks and Mul­tiChoice, it ap­pears re­tail­ers in the coun­try have ben­e­fited from this. OK Zim­babwe, the Zimbabwean com­peti­tor of Pick n Pay, said on Thurs­day that rev­enues for the quar­ter to the end of June grew by 19 per­cent.

Alex Siya­vora, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of OK Zim­babwe, told share­hold­ers, “Our pro­mo­tions were suc­cess­ful and con­trib­uted mean­ing­fully to the quar­ter’s per­for­mance.”

PHOTO: AP

Zimbabwean credit and debit card hold­ers have been re­quired to ap­ply for ac­ti­va­tion of their cards for use while trav­el­ling out­side the coun­try.

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